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on July 16, 2004
Universal has done the same thing to Columbo that they did to The Night Gallery series-no interviews,no documentaries and no remastering of the print. This is not good enough.
If other studios can remaster everything from Star Trek to such average fare as Wonder Woman and The Dukes Of Hazzard,then Universal should have remastered the classic Columbo dramas and given us a new print of the series.
It would be so nice to have an interview with Peter Falk and have him tell us about his movie career and his 30 year association with Columbo,which is one of the longest acting experiences in media history. Peter filmed his first Columbo in 1972 and his latest in 2003. Quite an effort and it would have been great to hear some stories,but fans get nothing.
It would also be nice to see an interview with actor Patrick McGoogan and to hear how he got involved with acting and then writing,directing and producing some Columbo tele-movies,but again fans get left with nothing.
Altough the print of Columbo will be an acceptable standard comparable with video tapes,with such new technology as plasma and high definition television,viewers deserve better these days.
Other studios recognise this and Universal needs to wake up and join the new century. Perhaps when Vol 2 gets released,they might recognise this and give us a remastered set with some interviews.
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on June 29, 2004
Peter Falk's Columbo ranks as one of the greatest TV detective characters ever created. His ability to capture the kirky Los Angeles Lieutenant has captivated decades of viewers and is sure to also capture younger fans with this long-awaited DVD release.
Created by Richard Levinson and William Link, the series debuted in 1971 with "Murder by the Book," which was actually the third appearance of Falk's Columbo (there had been two previous two-hour NBC World Premiere Movies prior to the series launch.) Interestingly, "Murder by the Book" was directed by a then unknown talent: Steven Spielberg.
Columbo was unique in so many ways, the first was that the viewer learned the killer's identity in the first few minutes of every episode. Up until then, detective shows and mysteries had tried to keep the audience guessing "Who Done It?" until the very final scene. Levinson and Link turned that formula upside down, letting viewers in on the intracacies of the crime from the killer's viewpoint, their motivation, and what they did to cover their tracks to avoid discovery.
Often, Columbo was not even introduced until 20 minutes or more into the episodes (which ran a network 90 minutes with commercials instead of the usual 60 minutes for dramas.)
However, as soon as the audience caught a glimpse of the short, rumpled, cigar-smoking detective with the tan rain coat, they knew that they were watching something really special. Columbo feigned a scatter-brained approach, but it was soon obvious to viewers and the episode's killer that beneath his step-and-fetch-it manner lay the cooly brilliant mind of a master detective. And, it was the cat-and-mouse interplay and dialog between Columbo and the criminal that was at the heart of this brilliant series.
Smartly written and tightly crafted, the dramatic tension was created as Columbo slowly chipped away the layers of subterfuge left by the killer to reveal the mechanics of the crime and the killer.
Throughout the series, which spanned three decades after several relaunches as specials, Falk's black hair turned gray, but he wore the exact same rain coat while pursuing some of the best actors and actresses on TV or in the movies who portrayed various extremes of melevolent killers. A virtual "who's who" of the acting profession did a turn on Columbo.
To say that Columbo affected the TV mystery genre is to give it far too little credit: it changed it forever and produced a detective from which his alter ego, the vastly talented Falk, will also never be able to escape.
Let's hope the studio takes a clue from Colombo and quickly releases the rest of these outstanding episodes!
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on April 12, 2005
Columbo on DVD!!! Excellent quality!! However, I'm finding disc 3 does not play the second episode, I was given a replacement and the same thing ... disc 3 is defective.
Is anyone else having this problem?
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on September 2, 2005
I can't say enough about how thrilled I am to have Columbo on DVD! I want to mention though that I too, have a defective DVD: Disc 2 Side B. If the replacements are messed up too, how do we get the DVD we paid for? Can anyone help us out? I can't stand missing out on any episodes and having to go through the return policies online (it was a gift), plus mailing, is a real hassle - especially if there are no replacements?
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Boy, wait till my wife find out that I am writing a Columbo review! She is such a big fan! The first Columbo in this series, Prescription: Murder, with Gene Barry as a handsome, murderous, adulterous and suave psychiatrist (typecast) is atypical but it introduces us to a young Peter Falk; as a police lieutenant who will never again rise in rank. He is not really himself in this one but by the second episode arrives with Lee Grant as a plotting lawyer we are seeing the man we will grow to love. My particular favorite in this series, "Murder by the Book" stars Falk favorite, the smug and grinning, Jack Cassidy. These films did not originate from books but consistently written and satisfying teleplays. Falk, last choice for the role, came to personify one of the best of American characters; humble, persistant, warm, gentle (he hates guns) and Italian (played by a Jewish actor). They are moral in the way all good classic mysteries are without ever being preachy. They are calming; if I need to settle into a quiet and ordered world Columbo is my go to guy. Best over a bowl of Chili in front of the tv with the wife.
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on February 15, 2011
Columbo is a great show and would have been a wonderful watch if the DVD's wouldn't have been duds. There were issues with skipping and garbling (for lack of a better word, if that even is a word) on the first set of DVD's and actual scratches and fingerprints along with the skipping and garbling on the second set. I wouldn't suggest purchasing these DVD's until Amazon gets the problem straightened out with their supplier ....
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on June 4, 2004
It's great to see Lt. Columbo is finally going to make it on DVD! For those familiar with the cigar-smoking detective in the rumpled raincoat only through the specials produced in the 90s, the originial 1970s episodes show Columbo in his prime.
Most people are familiar with the Columbo formula: guest star plots murder; guest star kills victim (a series trademark - we know all along who the killer is); Columbo appears on scene; Columbo investigates - "Ahh, just one more thing, maam/sir"; just as it looks like guest star will get away with it, Columbo discovers piece of evidence that seals the case; Columbo nails guest star with evidence; guest star is led away to jail. A formula, yes, but a formula that worked incredibly well for over 40 episodes in its original run.
The first season contains two of my favorites: "Death Lends a Hand" - Robert Culp plays a private investigator who kills a client's wife, then is hired by the unknowing client to help Columbo with the investigation; and "Suitable for Framing" - an art critic murders his uncle in order to obtain two priceless paintings...this episode has one of the best endings in the series. For the possible exception of "Lady in Waiting", the other five episodes from the first season are also very strong.
And while details of the DVD haven't been released yet, I only hope this will also include the two rarely seen T.V. movies, "Prescription Murder" and "Ransom For a Dead Man", that introduced Lt. Columbo before it was decided to include the character in a rotation of Sunday night detective series on NBC.
These are a must for fans of detective dramas. Thanks, Universal, for finally releasing these!
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on June 17, 2011
Disc three freezes and watching two episodes is partially possible. Disc four has also the same problem but less than disc three.
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on June 14, 2004
Finally, my dream come true. I've been expecting this release for a long time. I keep all the Columbo episodes on VHS and now it's great to know they're being released on DVD, hope it'll continue with all the seasons ahead. Robert Culp (Death lends a hand), Ross Martin (Suitable for framing), Jack Cassidy (Murder by the book),Roddy McDowell (Short fuse) and even Leslie Nielsen (Lady in waiting) are among the great actors that share the credits with Mr. Peter Falk (tip of the hat to him). Go for it, you won't regret it.
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on June 6, 2004
It's about time! Universal Studios should release the 2nd season ASAP.
Columbo's plot-lines created unique, unrivaled intrigue and mystery. Los Angeles' ace detective uncovered overwhelming circumstantial evidence, hounded murderers, and forced them to confess when confronted. We never knew the sentence, but who cares? No one was too clever for Columbo.
(...)I gave Columbo 5 stars without looking at the DVDs and pre-ordered. Columbo is that good.
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